Embracing joy for days to come

Last week I was at The Simply Natural Creamery with a friend where we both enjoyed our first taste of their delicious ice cream and the Christian music that was playing. At the table next to us in a high chair was a baby boy. The look on his face every time Grandma started to bring the spoon of ice cream up to his mouth was priceless. It was a look of pronounced anticipation and then sheer delight. Each bite was a pure treat to him.

The baby’s reaction reminded me of one of my favorite verses in the Bible. In Matthew 13:44 Jesus said “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a person found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” The joyful attitude of the finder is striking. The excitement caused by giving up everything of lesser value for the one thing of ultimate worth should not be understated.

Despite the ups and downs of life Christians can have a deep joy. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is only produced by God’s work in us. While happiness might be fleeting or based on circumstances, joy is an abiding posture of the heart which comes from a focus on God and his grace. The angel proclaimed at the birth of Jesus “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) The love of God for each of us, created in his image, and his plan for our rescue is indeed wonderful news. As we focus on God’s provision daily our attitudes are transformed.

Ann Voskamp in “One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters” put it beautifully. “I was lost but know I am found again, Jesus, and I know what I want: to see deeply, to thank deeply, to feel joy deeply. How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy — and seeing shows the way in. The art of deep seeing makes gratitude possible. And it is the art of gratitude that makes joy possible. Isn’t joy the art of God?”

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